It’s ironic that most people reading this article have probably never seen C.H.U.D., but this illustrates the cult horror movie’s uncanny ability to captivate. The guttural acronym only becomes more monstrous when its meaning is revealed: Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller (or Contamination Hazard Urban Disposal, depending on who you ask).
Yes, parts of C.H.U.D. are funny as fuck—especially a cameo from a then relatively unknown John Goodman, but it’s not the B-movie schlock people think it is. C.H.U.D. features a compelling plot, outstanding actors, and pretty damn decent special effects. And it’s a smart film, too. No really!
If you can’t take my word for it, check out Mark Bishop‘s latest video list: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About C.H.U.D. For some of you, it’ll validate your secret love of this often-marginalized sleeper. For others, it’ll be your first real introduction to the film. It’s got something for everyone.
If you can’t stream, the 10 things you probably never knew about C.H.U.D. are briefly summarized below the video. After that, you can check out the trailer and synopsis for C.H.U.D., directed by Douglas Cheek and released in 1984. Enjoy!
About Minty Comedic Arts on YouTube: As a lover of Cinema and general Pop Culture I peel back the layers of some of our most well-loved movies and try to discover secrets lying behind films that we would otherwise think we know everything about to bring a new love and appreciate to all those movies we grew up watching. Buckle up and get ready for my Top 10’s as I do a checklist of things that you may not know about the movies.
1. C.H.U.D. was part of a toxic waste themed horror movie trend in the 1980s. Other examples include The Toxic Avenger movies, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and RoboCop. Even Tim Burton’s Batman updated the Joker’s origin story to include a toxic waste element.
2. Rumors persist that Rob Zombie wants to remake C.H.U.D., although nothing amounting to definitive proof has ever materialized.
3. Although C.H.U.D. has always been considered an obscurity, its place in popular culture was cemented following a cameo on The Simpsons. On a makeshift bungee cord that plummets down an opened manhole, Homer sees a variety of subterranean dwellers, including C.H.U.D., Morlock, and “Mole People”. C.H.U.D. has also been mentioned in Clerks II, Archer, and The Flash.
4. The sequel, 1989’s Bub the C.H.U.D., was dumped straight to video. The follow-up, however, has nothing to do with the original. It’s a horror comedy about zombies.
5. As an April Fools Day Joke, Criterion announced that C.H.U.D. was receiving a 2-disc Blu-ray re-release. It illustrates how maligned C.H.U.D. has become in popular culture: Despite the fact that almost no one has seen it, the idea of it getting the dignified Criterion treatment was immediately laughable. An actual Blu-ray release came a few years later via Arrow Video.
6. The film’s score also has a huge fan following; Rolling Stone ranked the soundtrack for C.H.U.D. #35 on their list of best horror movie music. It was composed by British musician Martin Cooper.
7. A C.H.U.D. appears digitally in Tony Hawk’s Underground, although it was renamed T.H.U.D. (no doubt to avoid copyrights disputes). You can actually unlock the character and use it to skate.
8. The movie is much smarter than it’s given credit for. It works as an allegory for homelessness, environmentalism, and corporate greed.
9. Daniel Stern’s real-life wife, Laure Mattos, also appears in C.H.U.D.; she’s the film’s first victim, who gets pulled into a manhole while walking her dog.
10. The movie was an epic flop when released (yeah, big surprise!). It proves, once again, that the box office is no measure of a film’s quality.
Official Synopsis: Photographer George Cooper (John Heard) is documenting the lives of subterranean homeless people, a population that has mysteriously dwindled. After receiving information from a reporter, George becomes aware of a conspiracy theory about cannibalistic monsters lurking in the sewers. He teams up with the reporter, a policeman (Christopher Curry) and a priest (Daniel Stern) to fight two battles: one against the cannibals and the other against a corrupt government official.
Related Article: Love for the C.H.U.D.! New Anthology “C.H.U.D. Lives!” Coming Soon